10 minutes with Tom Gebbie, GUSA President Elect

Published

Beatrice Cook

It has been yet another (black and) golden year for the GUSA; the University’s recent win at the Glasgow Taxis Cup, as well as a clear increase in sports membership alongside continued success in the BUCS tables sees the Association going from strength to strength. Newly elected GUSA President Tom Gebbie, who triumphed over rival Matthew Knaggs with a solid 532 votes to Knaggs’ 390 at the recent elections, managed to spare some time to chat to the Glasgow Guardian about all things GUSA.

Guardian: How do you feel being made President of the Glasgow University Sports Association?

Gebbie: It didn’t really sink in at first – it’s fantastic. It was quite emotional on the day because you put so much effort in. We’ve got a fantastic new council, and I’m really looking forward to working with all of them. I think Matt [Knaggs] did a great campaign; he kept me on my toes the entire time and on the day, there were points where I thought I’d lost it.  I think it’s better to have opposition as well; it cements your position and means you’ve fought for it. All the campaigners did a fantastic job, especially considering how awful the weather was, and it was good to see so many people coming down to vote.

Guardian: What are your plans for the coming academic year?

Gebbie: We’ve got Freshers Week coming up, and we’re looking forward to getting all the new helpers in. We’ve got the Equality and Diversity training, which is something the GUSA Council did this year, but I thought it was important that one member from each club committee did it as well, just because they’re the ones who are going to be more involved and facing things, and making sure people are treated fairly across all the different sports.

Guardian: With the closure of the Kelvinhall facilities, how will you tackle any issues that surround this?

Gebbie: We’re going to meet with the Sport and Recreation Services to help make the Stevenson extension building get sorted as quickly as possible. Over the summer months there’s going to be quite a bit of disruption, so we’re going to ensure that there are alternate facilities to train in, whether it be for gym users or clubs who are here over summer, as well as ensuring that people are trained well enough to drive the minibuses, so there are fewer incidents and less minibuses out of action.

Guardian: What has been your highlight of the past year?

Gebbie: My sporting highlight has to be winning the Scottish 1A [Men’s Water Polo] – the atmosphere was incredible. It was the day after elections as well, so it was like the best week of my life. We’d lost twice already, and we knew we were a better team. It was just about playing better. It was such a tight match, but winning that was incredible.

The Glasgow Taxis Cup ran pretty smoothly – we could probably publicise it a little better, but as a whole, we did do really well. It was a lot tighter this year, but we’ll try and up that next year, and bring it back for a fifth year in a row.

Guardian: How will GUSA be getting involved in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games?

Gebbie: [By] building the legacy; I believe that there will be a hype around Glasgow after the Games, there will be students who want to come to Glasgow and get involved in sport, and especially in Freshers Week, I think it’s important that every club push their publicity to be as appealing as possible for as many students as possible, particularly international students.

Guardian: What would you say to new students  joining the University of Glasgow about sport and the Association?

Gebbie: Even if you are just joining the gym or GUSA, it’s a great way of getting involved – you make loads of new friends, whether you do club or recreational sport. It is honestly one of the best things you can do at university. I know I wouldn’t have had half the fun at university if it wasn’t for GUSA and the sports that I’ve been involved with. I highly recommend it to every student to get involved in any way possible.

Guardian: Any final thoughts?

Gebbie: I know that clubs are performing a lot better, they’re publicising themselves a lot more, they’re pushing their teams, and they’re also being more inclusive. It’s good that we’re still managing to keep the classic ethos of keeping everyone involved, but also pushing to become more elite.

Towards the end of my term as President next year, there are going to be chances for clubs to go for development status – that’s basically a chance for clubs to have extra funding and support.

And, as our good friends at Nike say, ‘Just Do It!’